Friday, December 31, 2004

Happy New Year's

We’re off to a festive New Year’s Eve. We’ll be attending Shabbat services followed by having dinner with the wife of our beloved Rabbi who passed away earlier this year. We’ll make it home in time for fireworks from nearby Rawhide (its last year at this location).

Hope the world is safe for 2005.


The QB Wears a Pompadour

The Vitalis Sun Bowl? This is what NCAA football has become, a bowl game sponsored by a hair gel? Guess if there are a lot of fumbles, the players can blame the greasy kid stuff

Another 2004 Highlight

The dock diving dogs. Here's Sarge.

Two of 2004's Best Moments

Sitting at Citizens Bank Park with my wife

Being surrounded by giraffes at the San Diego Wildlife Park

Thursday, December 30, 2004

El Nino and Our (Former) House

They built our house in Larkspur during the El Nino storms of 1997. It sure explains a lot.

Yahoo! News - Southern Calif. Gets Twister, More Rain

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The Final Wave Goodbye

Just like that, my ’92 Honda is gone.

The proceeds of the auction for the car will be used toward diabetes research. If my dollars save one life or help one researcher learn something new about this disease that impacted my father’s life and mine, I’m a happy man.

My wife is teary eyed. Every work day from Dec. 1994 through April 1999, I would leave our house in Marin County about 5:30 am for my office in San Jose (60-plus miles). She would wake up, cook me a portable breakfast and see me off, and would stand in the driveway waving and pointing as if to say, “that’s the way to San Jose.’” She knew that car would safely get me to and from home.

She just stood in our driveway in Arizona giving one final wave goodbye.

Losing a Biking Friend

Each morning, I ride my exercise bike to episodes of Law & Order; I love Lenny's wisecracking and self-effacing portrayal of a NY cop. Also loved him in "Crimes and Misdemeanors" and "Dirty Dancing." I saw Orbach once at the Hudson Grill in NY and just smiled his way. He seemed like a "regular guy."

Yahoo! News - 'Law & Order' Star Jerry Orbach Dies

The Good Guys At Amazon

The front page of Amazon.Com offers up the direct means to donate to the devastated folks throughout Asia. It appears, so far, they are well over a million $$ in collections.

Farewell Honda

In just a few hours, my 1992 Honda Accord (the last year the car was manufactured in Japan) will be departing my driveway to benefit the American Diabetes Association. It’s a fitting tribute to the car and the man who bought it for me. I loved the car for 12 years and I will love the man who bought it for me forever. Now, someone else will get to enjoy this great car and if I can help make one small stride toward curing diabetes, I have served my father and me quite well. See my previous blog for the story behind the car.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Video from Thailand and Sri Lanka

Here is a site that has first-hand footage. It seems like a staged movie set, yet it's all frighteningly real. My wife and I have been to those beaches shown in Phuket which makes it all extra chilling.

At this site, there are more accounts of the horror.

Skip the evening news, the real stories are in blogs.

More Blogs From Asia

Living proof that blogs are more compelling that traditional newscasts:

Screenshots (from a guy who is tryingto replicate S. Korea's citizen journalism (OhMy News) success.
vbCity (from some folks in Phuket)

...more to come

Do We Need Our Eggs This Fresh?

Just read about this in Gourmet.

Omlet | The art of keeping chickens! | Our fantastic chicken house the eglu!

Another Blog from the Scene of the Asian Disaster

Extra Extra

Two Work Days Left

Trying to clean up some loose ends at work today and tomorrow. Also working a lot on my network TV/ alternative media channel project (see this blog) which is both exhilarating and frustrating. I have some great ideas on creating alternative media channels, but my concern is that my ideas might not match up with available technology. I have worked in radio, TV and in print and want to fuse all of those media together into some cool new ample projects. Luckily, I have Mike working with me on this.

At this point, we have no big New Year’s Eve plans. Our Winter Camper was home for less than 24 hours before heading off on a snowboarding trip. She sure has a rough life. She may/may not be home New Year’s Eve depending on her friends and/or potential babysitting gigs. My wife and I have not done a lot of exciting New Year’s Eve things in our 22 years—the highlights include a dinner with some people from Kodak at the top of the Space Needle; a getaway (with my in-laws) at some urban-type farm on Poulsbo (Manor Farm Inn); dinner in Pacific Heights in San Francisco and dinner at (the soon to be nuked) Steamers (here in Arizona) with some people who came about three hours later. This year, given New Year’s Eve is on a Friday night, we’re considering evening religious services. We sure know how to have big fun.

Blogs and the Crisis in Asia

Forget the traditional news channels if you want the most up-to-date information on the post-earthquake/tsunami distaser that rocked Asia. Blogs (such as this one) offer personal insight as well as details on how to help. It's part of the new wave of news.

Monday, December 27, 2004

The Big Holiday Gift Was...

Looks to me like the big holiday gift was a TV with HD (high definition). Ask me how I know? We just came back from Cox Communications (a second time), the local cable monopoly, to swap my HD decoder box and analog DVR for a combo unit that records HD. When we went at 2 p.m., they were out of them. The warehouse had to bring more to the NE Scottsdale service center because there was an early-morning run on the new HD-DVR boxes.

We Were Just Talking About Seeing Him In Vegas

Yahoo! News - Comedian George Carlin Enters Rehab Program

Vacation Luck

Given the weather issues around the world, we made the right choice for vacation. We had considered, but later dropped, plans to go to Australia, Phuket (near the epicenter of the tsunami), New Orleans and New York. For some of those places, we’d actually have been in peril. Others, we’d just be flying home without our luggage. Sometimes, it pays just to be lucky. Hopefully, we'll have no weather issues for our planned trip in '05 to Vietnam.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Reporters Notebook: Post-Vacation Musings

**One of the ways to get to SBC Park without the traffic hassles and the high parking fees is to take the ferry. We took the ferry from Tiburon to SBC (when it was called Pac Bell) for a pre-season game against Los Yankees before the official stadium opening in 2000. The ferry was (really, really) late coming back and it was right after my wife was diagnosed with breast cancer so it was a somber trip. Call it karma—we never did it again. Even if, four years later, the ferry isn’t more efficient, it looks much cooler. This boat (see below) goes through McCovey Cove, the watery grave to many of Barry’s big blasts.

**My wife was delighted, but I was puzzled over the cotillion ball event at the Palace Hotel (where we stayed). It was a bunch of upper-crust sorts in gowns and tuxes. People oohed and aahed, yet I poo-pooed the entire thing. Not a single ethnic face was to be found. I reminded my wife that these are the people who elected George Bush.

**At the Lichtenstein exhibit at the SFMOMA, we noted one of the pictures was on loan from Steve Martin’s private collection. Cool.

**On Friday afternoon, at lunch the Hog Island Island Oyster Co. at the Ferry building, a couple barged ahead of us to be seated at the counter. The woman said something to the host and they were seated at the counter after which we were seated next to them. I speculated that the woman was some sort of well-known country singer; I heard her say she would sing a Xmas carol in exchange for some BBQ-ed oysters, She had that country singer look and (since I know nothing about country music) could have been a multi-award winning s-kicking warbler.

**What is it with Ted, the United Airlines sub-brand? The airline refers to Ted as if it’s a person. “Ted wants you to have a safe flight.” “Ted wants you to put your seat back up.” “Ted wants you to buy him some mouthwash.” Wonder why United is in trouble?

**When we were at our Thursday afternoon tea break at the Ferry building, an Internet company was having its holiday party. The CEO, Mark Goldstein, wandered in to address his troops. I knew Mark when he first started in the “900 number” biz some 15 years ago. Mark is a shrewd business man who has made millions many times over.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

A Wonderful Time with my Best Friend

Vacation is over. Wow, it was short but truly wonderful. We crammed a ton in just four nights. Now that we are home, it seems like a dream as we moved about the Bay Area eating some great food, seeing some of our favorite people and just being together (my favorite thing in the world).

Here are a few highlights:

We ate at Isobune (above), a sushi place in Japantown where the sushi comes around on conveyor belts. The sushi there is fresh and the place is fun. It’s not as good as..say… Shiro’s in Seattle but it’s an experience.

I got to see and play with Ian (above). Ian and his sister Lucy are the dogs of Christina, the woman who used to cut both my and my wife’s hair. We ventured over to Tiburon on Friday for my wife to get a haircut and for me to play with Ian (and Lucy). Ian is my second favorite dog of all time. He’s a Sheltie who is just so smart and full of personality. He plays a game with me where we tug on a toy and then he expects me to toss it and then he comes back for me. If you do not play up to his standards, he’ll bark and even nip and your pants. Ian is awesome. Lucy is kinda cute herself,

After our haircut/dogfest, we went to Marin Joe’s to have a bowl of their famous Manhattan Clam Chowder (the red kind) and to see our good friend Georgette (whose email address is hiyoyo..don’t’ ask me what it means) , a waitress there (see below). We used to go to Marin Joe’s for lunch every Friday. We went in good times and bad. We went when my wife was so weak from chemo she barely could sit up. We went when I couldn’t walk after my botched foot surgery. It was our special place…it was our special time. Georgette was there for all of it, and it was great to see her smile again.

More memories to come, including the Kung Pao Kosher Comedy show (awesome); Hog Island Oyster review (awesome) and some other assorted things.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

New Low for TV

As the father of an adopted child, this is beyond appalling.

Yahoo! News - 'Who's Your Daddy?' TV show sparks fury

Vacation Mode

Vacation is cruising along, and we’re having just an awesome time. Among the highlights:

**Vietnamese dinner with Mike and Rebecca. Amazing roasted crab and great conversation.
**Lunch at Asqew in the Marina.
**The Lichtenstein exhibit at the SFMOMA around the corner from our hotel.
**Sushi at Isobune, the boat-sushi place in Japantown.
**The Ferry Plaza Farmers Market—oysters from Hog Island; Stonehouse Olive Oil; Acme bread and pastries, the Imperial Tea court, etc… described in more detail later.
**A warm welcome while attending minyan last night at Beth Sholom to say Yahrzeit for my mother (who died 22 years ago next week)

and more….

Wednesday, December 22, 2004


Breakfast is always a challenge for this traveler. Being a diabetic, I like to avoid large, big-carb meals early in the morning. That’s probably why I eat the same breakfast at home every day—egg whites cooked with some vegetables, a piece of sourdough (low-glycemic) toast and some endive. On the road, the options are more limited.

In NY, I love going to those small delis where they can make you some egg whites with cheese on a kaiser roll. It cost something like $2. Toss in one of those coffees that come in the blue Greek-patterned cups, and you are good to go. Here is SF, we have yet to find a similar option… till this morning. We didn’t want to eat at the hotel, not cause we’re cheap, but the big breakfast buffet is a waste because it’s a carb abondanza.

We left the hotel and stumbled upon a Quiznos on Market Street that had breakfast sandwiches and they were more than delighted to make us ones with egg whites. The result was wonderful—well toasted and just the right amount of food. We sat by the window and watched the world walk by. We counted the number of people with iPods and the folks at Apple would be pleased with the findings.

Watching the world walk by on Market Street

Sometimes, it pays to wander and look for breakfast where you least expect it; we’ll be back tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

One of the Top Things We Miss about SF

In addition to their sourdough breads, they make these cinnamon pull-aparts that are heavenly. Makes Cinnabon look like a Pop Tart. We will be enjoying one tonight

Bread & Cheese

So Far...

We are one passenger lighter on our travels. After suffering the horrors of the Southwest Airlines experience, we are sitting in the Red Carpet Room waiting for our flight to SF. Terminal 4, the most popular one here in Phoenix, is the home for SW and America West--two airlines I refuse to fly.

The next few days should be relaxing and fun. We also hope to plan the next steps of our house pimping to resume next week. Plus, I will be saying goodbye to my '92 Honda Accord.

New mantra for the next several day: relax... have fun... relax...

Off to the Friendly Skies

First day of vacation....

Monday, December 20, 2004

Cancel My Super Bowl Tickets

Unless McNabb can figure out a way to throw to himself...

Yahoo! Sports - NFL - Owens out for regular season, could miss playoffs

Random Pre-Vacation Thoughts

Some random thoughts on my last workday before vacation:

*** I like the Randy Johnson to the Yankees trade. Let me get this straight—you trade a 41 year old pitcher with at most two good years left for a 32-year-old starting right fielder with power, a flame-throwing middle reliever, another starter (26 years old) and a prospect? What’s the catch?

*** I was depressed to see that folks on minimum wage could not afford even afford a cheap apartment. I read a book last year in which the author (a journalist) took off a year and worked minimum wage jobs (Wal Mart, waitress, etc…) and tried to make ends meet. She couldn’t do it. Speaking of books, I have a ton that I’d like to read on vacation. One, “Lovely Bones,” is a tough read if you have a 12-year-old daughter, but my wife and daughter want me to get through it. (They both have read it). I’ll probably stick with “The Godfather Returns.”

*** I also was disappointed to see that “Spanglish” came in third at the box office, earning $9 million for the weekend, a pale comparison to “Lemony Snicket” and “Oceans 12.” Once “Meet the Fockers” is out, “Spanglish” will be an afterthought. Movies are all about marketing.

*** One of the best things about our short jaunt to SF is eating Vietnamese food. There are several great places in the Bay Area. We first were introduced to the cuisine in Seattle. There was an awesome place, Cafe Loc, near the Seattle Center that we would frequent as much as possible. The restaurant, owned by a Vietnamese lawyer and her husband, is gone. But then again, so are we. In two months, we hope to be eating Vietnamese food on native soil.

*** Speaking of our planned trip to Asia, we want to do a stopover in Hong Kong. We were there in 1998, but stayed in the wrong area, had no spending money and brought our daughter. We have all three issue corrected. My prime goal is to buy a new watch.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Vacation Week

One work day this week and then we’re off on vacation. I have six days off and we’ll spend four of those in San Francisco. The weather looks to be good and we won’t be short of things to do and places to eat. We’ll even be able to visit our favorite farmers market (my third visit there this year).

It won’t be the most spectacular or exotic vacation we’ve ever had, but we just enjoy being together. Plus, I get to see Hi Yo-yo and Ian… more on Ian (plus a photo) at the end of the week.

You Mean They Can't Find Someone Worse?

Yahoo! News - Senators Hesitant to Replace Rumsfeld

Just for Running up the Body Count...

Yahoo! News - President Bush Named Time's Person of 2004

Saturday, December 18, 2004


As is the tradition in our religion, on the anniversary of the death of a parent, sibling, spouse or child, we light a candle in their memory. With the “Yahrzeit” (year’s time) of my mother’s death approaching, I had the honor of being called to the Torah today at our synagogue. Thinking of my mother, I did a blessing over the Torah and was rewraded with a giant hug and kiss from my wife. She smiled because I do ham it up (ham it up in synagogue?) and sing the blessing quite loudly. What the heck…I want my mother to hear.


The calendar might say Dec. 18th, but for my wife and I, this is week 50. Some 21 years ago, on our honeymoon, we bought a timeshare in Saint Maarten, a cool island in the Caribbean. Why did we buy it? Short answer—we were nuts. It was costly, a long way to go for vacation (we lived in Seattle) and had with it a costly yearly maintenance fee. But we were young (read: younger) and in love.

Older and still in love, we look back at week 50—the week we owned for that timeshare. We had some great times—alone and with family. We ate great French food, went on some fun beaches, wandered, took excursions to neighboring islands, (many of which made us seasick) and relaxed.

Today, we recall our trip in 1984. We called it our pre-vacation. A few weeks later, we were to leave for South America for a three-month sabbatical, so what better way to get prepared than a two-week trip to the Caribbean. We hope to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the trip to South America with a trip nearly as cool as the one to Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. In February 2005, we will be off the Viet (freakin’) Nam. That’s one of our favorite lines from “Forrest Gump.”

Friday, December 17, 2004

Christmas Kranking

Here’s a scary story: Seems that "Christmas with the Kranks," a silly sounding movie with Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis, was met with nasty reviews. The moral right and Christian orgs loved it, primarily because it had a dearth of cussing and talked of the goodness and joy of the Holiday.

So… the movie studio latched onto quotes/sound bytes from such esteemed outlets as “The 700 Club.” I always go to the “700 Club” for film advice. I even go there ahead of Roger Ebert and The New Yorker. Someone from the “700 Club” said something along the lines of “Great holiday fun” … or “great for the whole family” … or.. well, you get the picture. As a master of sound bytes, I know they can be very dangerous. The net is that a movie is making decent money when it otherwise would be a dog of the year.

The kicker: The movie stars Tim Allen. And while I am one to forgive and forget, I wonder how the folks at The Club reconcile the fact that Allen served time for drug trafficking. Or, is it part of that myth that the religious right says one thing while doing something else in “real life.” I think it’s called moral superiority.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

What Am I Missing Here?

Billy Beene has lost his marbles.

Yahoo! Sports - MLB - Athletics trade Hudson to Braves

Because They Were Hammered by 7UP

The new C2 (faux low carb soda) from Coke was a dismal failure (still too much sugar) because the folks at Cadberry Schweppes came out with 7UP Plus that has Splenda and fruit juice. For diabetics, like me, it's heaven sent. It's actually even better than Diet Rite (also with Splenda) and Hansen's (except for the root beer which is great).

Yahoo! News - Coca-Cola to Launch 3 New Drinks

Where To?

Where will Les Expos go next? I vote for Vegas.

Yahoo! Sports - MLB - Washington's baseball dream 'close to dying'

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Phones On Airplanes

Wireless access +Voice over IP client = telephone.

Yahoo! News - FCC to Allow Wireless Access on Planes

Spicing Up Our Lives

Must be a slow news day or my expectations have reached new all-time lows, but I am excited about the opening of a Penzeys Spices store in Scottsdale. I first read about Penzeys in Gourmet; they are a Midwestern company that specializes in a wide array of herbs and spices. The approach they take is quite folksy with recipes and tips on how to use these spices. The angle actually is quite sincere, unlike, say Wal Mart, when they show in their ads their “associates” using their products to gain the empathy of consumers. Last night, I saw an ad on TV with some Wal Mart “associates” pretending to be enjoying “Seinfeld” episodes as a pitch to sell the new DVD sets. It made me laugh out loud—not at Jerry-Jerry, but at Wal Mart.

Anyhoo, we are into spices here. We use a lot of rosemary and lavender sea salt (mostly from Eatwell Farms) that we purchased at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market in SF. We also are partial to oregano (we have it growing in our yard) which has amazing body cleansing power and herbs de province. I foresee a major spending spree on Feb. 1 when Penzey’s opens.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I Hate My Phone

I believe I now must go to the Mayo Clinic and have my phone surgically removed from my ear. I have been on the telephone for more than six hours, and, glad to say, I am done talking for the day. Even though I use a headset for my cordless phone, it gets mind numbing to be on the phone for so long. I just don’t know how people do it.

Aside from a lengthy series of internal work calls, the media has been calling me asking for my perspective on the Google announcement of its work with some top academic libraries. You generally want to start off these conversations by saying, “What makes you think I know?” but one of my first bosses at this company told me, that no matter how little you think you know, you know more than the person asking. He’s generally right. Plus, having once been a reporter, I am sensitive to the fact that many of these writers are on deadline and looking for a snappy sound byte to help them through their day.

You can click here to see what I told a reporter from TechWeb on this subject.

Mets R Nuts

Pedro's best days are behind him. He'd be moving to a fastball league in which the best pitchers throw smoke. Pedro's heater has lost more than a few MPH in the past few a car that once had lots of zip that was worn down by time. BAD MOVE! - MLB - Pedro says he's a Met; team keeps quiet

Does This Mean Your Local Goalie will be Pumping Gas?

Yahoo! Sports - NHL - NHL reportedly set to turn down union offer

Note to United: Get with It!

Continental Airlines offers free Wi-Fi service | CNET

Monday, December 13, 2004

The End of A.J.

Yahoo! Sports - MLB - Giants sign C Matheny

White Kids and Rap

Here’s something that has me stumped—what is it about rap and hip hop that appeals to White suburban, middle-class kids? My daughter and her friends are transfixed on having all sorts of hip hop and rap songs played at the their social events no matter what subject matter is discussed in the songs.

At first, I thought that perhaps these kids might be hooked into the social statements made by these artists—the plight of underprivileged (and oversexed) urban youth that are perennially hassled by the law. Maybe it’s like the protest songs of the ‘60s that resonated with young people of all strata—from “Blowin in the Wind” to “Feel like I’m Fixin’ To Die Rag.” I don’t think so—these kids who like hip hop generally are so vapid that the social context of Snoop Dog and others is lost on their one-track minds (well, more than one track, but those tracks intersect in the areas of fashion, Lindsay Lohan and rolling their eyes at their parents).

Hmmm.. I think I’m zeroing in on something here. Kids like my daughter like rap and hip hop because their parents hate it. Well, my daughter is the exception, because I like most of it, and (I think) I understand the social relevance. The vast majority believes the shock appeal of rappers talking about drugs, killin’ the cops and grabbing some booty will upset their parents to the point of dismay (thus making the kids happy). I guess, in my day, I recall my mother taking my 8-track of Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant” (as if either my mother or I knew what picking up a couple of keys meant) and tossing it in the garbage.

Word up.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

'Tis the Season

It’s a mish-mash season. You have Hanukkah on one hand—a holiday I think is way too commercialized, and while it has some meaning, it’s not the kind of celebration for which you ignite the outside of your house with lights and all sorts of oddball decorations that waste precious power. I think with intermarriage, Hanukkah has been elevated to Christmas-lite status. And, as I obnoxiously asked my wife last night, why do people make such effort to decorate their homes with lights and inflatable Snowmen and electronic reindeer when they do nothing the rest of the year that has any element of community pride or spirit? Are people struck with some bolt of religious fervor that equates the birth of their Lord with high utility bills and animotronic elves? Can’t get people to vote or attend community meetings, but once a year they’re willing to shell out hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars to create gaper’s blocks. Yeah, yeah, I am a scrooge.

It’s the end of the Bat Mitzvah season for 2004. The season include very L-O-N-G Saturdays with a religious service in the AM followed by a party in the evening (which ends at midnight) followed by early Sunday morning religious school classes. Plus, we’re part of an insane carpool that flies by the seat of its pants (when it flies at all). The girls in my daughter’s circle also pair off on Saturdays and go home with one another and then have sleep-overs after the party. Yep, it adds to the insanity. We have a month break before the next shindig.

It’s the season to be in Arizona. Don’t tell anyone, but we will have a high of 79 degrees today. It is GOREGEOUS out and those who got lucky enough to visit this week are wearing shorts and (probably) sitting by some hotel pool. The only bad thing about living here is that you cannot come to visit and just and be blown away by the weather.

Tis the season for us to give more than we receive. I am giving away my ’92 Honda before the end of the year and today we’re shopping for some needy kids in the Christmas Angels program (sponsored by the Salvation Army). You go to PV Mall, select little angel cards from some trees and each one has a gift wish list on it. We’re headed out to Target ® in a while to do a panzer raid on these wish lists. It’s a level two mitzvah 9as the scale goes). The best mitzvah is when neither the giver nor receiver knows each other. Level two is when the giver knows the receiver… and so on.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

He Told Them to Get Out of His Grill

Yahoo! News - Foreman Wants Company to Stop Using Name

Friday, December 10, 2004

Win Some, Lose Some

D-backs get Ortiz, Angels get Finley (he sold his home in PV last week... should have been a clue).

Anaheim Angels : The Official Site


Two conversations, one theme—Who’s on first?

Call one, to the help desk at an unnamed company. A gentleman at a call center in India (Bangalore, to be specific) answers. He says, “Hi, my name is Alan, may I have your first and last name?” I answer, Allen. He says, “How do you spell that?” I say, A-L-L-E-N. He says, “No, Alan.” I say, “A-L-L-E-N.” He says, “No, A-L-A-N.” This goes on for a while. I am near sending the black-hooded death squad to execute him in his pod. He finally realizes. “Oh. You are telling me how you spell your name. I was telling you how I spell mine.” Let’s send more CSA jobs offshore; that way, we can all lose our minds when we call for technohelp.

Conversation two, 80 minutes ago. We’re in Burger King (know ‘round here as Rey de Hamburguesa) to buy some value meals to allow us to buy those Spongebob Watches (buck ninety nine with purchase). The orderguy takes our order. My wife asks if the chicken value meal is fried. In less-than-halting English/Spanglish, he says, “Yes, it comes with fries.” With rapidly shrinking patience, my wife repeats the question. He again says it comes with fries. This would have gone on for a hour had someone with marginally better English not walked by.

Give us your tired, your poor and (as Seinfeld says) any poor forsaken slob who can muster up the airfare to come to our sacred shores.

Paved With Good Intentions

My new favorite expression: these guys couldn't find a clue with both hands and a flashlight.

Yahoo! News - MoveOn to Democratic Party: 'We Own It'

More Evidence It's Time to Go - Good morning, Vietnam

My Heart Breaks (Not)

I'll bet, that in his best season, Bobby Orr made $20 or $30 grand. Orr would be worth about $100 million a season these days.

Yahoo! Sports - NHL - Will major salary rollback be enough to save NHL season?

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Troy At The Hot Corner

Glaus joins the Arizona shoulder injury ward: Richie Sexton, Luis Gonzalez, Danny Bautitsta... what's up with that? Glaus has not played a full season in a few years. I'd make his contract conditional on playing at least half a season without injury. If he sticks, he's a nice addition, and since he's white, the fans here will love him.

MSNBC - D-Backs reportedlyto sign Glaus

What's In a Name?

I mistakenly told some people Nomar was named by his dad as a tribute to former LA Rams QB Roman Gabriel. I was wrong:

Nomar Name
Anthony Nomar Garciaparra was born July 23, 1973 in Whittier, California. He was given the name Nomar because it was the name of his father, Ramon, spelled backwards. Nomar Garciaparra began playing baseball at a young age and quickly became a star. When he was nine, Nomar began playing in a league with kids who were four years older than him and he still made the all-star team. Nomar Garciaparra was quite small and skinny when he was kid and he was nicknamed "Glass" by his teammates because he looked so breakable. But Nomar hit a growth spurt when he was 16 and graduated as a three sport all-star (soccer, football and baseball) from St. John Bosco High School in 1991

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Nice Pickup for the Yankees

I am a Womack fan. He was instrumental in the D-backs title run in 2001 and was a pleasant surprise for the Cardinals last season. Sure, he tends to overswing from time to time, but with his plate discipline mojo in place, he offers speed at the top of the lineup--or even as a ninth place hitter (where he makes sense as a Yankee). Torre will be another great manager for Womack. - MLB - Busy Yankees sign Womack, Wright

Under VERY Serious Consideration

We had this at the top of our list for Winter vacations this year. UAL is offering triple miles for this flight plus a 5-star Marriott in Ho Chi Minh City (AKA Saigon) is offering rooms for $105 a night. The airport abbreviation, by the way, is SGN.

I would love to go. I want to see, 35 years later, what Vietnam looks like after we spilled the blood of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives (not to mention those we impaired emotionally for a lifetime). I understand it's a beautiful country with wonderful people, not to mention great food. Maybe we can get there next year.

Yahoo! News - UAL starts first US commercial service to Vietnam since war

Grammies In Your Jammies

A lot of weird stuff floating around me that bears notice:

--The SF Giants have cut Robb Nen loose. That’s going to cost someone some money. Robb got paid millions last season to be a cheerleader and maybe the guy who answered the clubhouse door when Domino’s ® called. After getting Benetiz and with the rapid emergence of David Aardsma, Nen is collateral damage. The G-men also got rid of Dustin Hermanson, last season’s big-hearted closer by default. He was out there with the wing and a prayer fife and drum corp. My hunch us he’ll be a Cub, just like every other former Giants player.

--Until yesterday, I’d never heard of Kayne West, but took notice when he was nominated for 10 Grammies (maybe, as Steve Martin once sang, he was nominated for Grammies while sitting in his jammies). Thanks to Rhapsody (see link below), I have sampled a few of his songs. He’s clever and interesting, which certainly separates him from the other hip-hoppapotimuses (“Big Daddy” reference).

--There’s a new pizza joint in town to compete with Patsy Grimaldi’s. La Grande Orange (see previous blog) is an upscale grocery place in Phoenix that used to sell pizza in its deli section. Now, they have taken over a place next door and are peddling those amazing pies. We’re there.

--Vacation plans are in place—we’re off to SF for a few days while our daughter is in camp. The City That Stole My Heart is filled with good memories and bad ones. We’re out to exorcise the bad memories just as I did with a trip back East earlier this year. When we return home, we’ll get back to pimping our crib (so to speak).


Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Guess We Saw The Surf a Month Too Early

We saw the AC Surf in mid-July. (check old blog for highlights and details). MINORLBB - Surf rehire P.A. announcer on McGreevey's urge

Hall of Fame, 2005

Ron Santo is yet again on the Veterans Committee for induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. Joining him are Joe Torre, Tony Oliva, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Richie Allen and a few others.

Back in the day, I saw Torre play with both the Braves (Milwaukee) and Cardinals. Today, he’d be making millions on millions. He could rake plus he had power. He was a decent first baseman, but was moved to third after going to the Cardinals. Tumbs up. I only saw Oliva on TV, but he was born to hit. He did have one odd habit, and that was losing control of the bat when he swung. If you sat near home plate when Oliva was up, you’d better have some body armor. I give him thumbs up.

Kaat was OK, but nothing more than a durable and crafty left-hander. He was the Jamie Moyer of his day. Kaat was a great athlete who could hit and field his position with great skill. Thumbs down to Kaat. As for Richie (Dick) Allen, I am biased. He was my hero in the early ‘60s when he broke into the Phillies lineup. He was a young African American man playing for a racist manager in a racist city. He had amazing raw power, swung something like an 80-ounce bat (I exaggerate) and hit prodigious home runs over the Coke ® sign in left field in Connie Mack Stadium. He was a third baseman converted from left field; he was not the worst fielder ever, but certainly no Brooks Robinson.

Gil Hodges was before my time.

Ron Santo personified the essence of Cub-dom. He was a prototype thirdbaseman of the ‘60s: great power, slick fielding, slow as a horse. He has made headlines for his work for diabetes charities and has lost both legs to the disease. He is Cubs announcer (radio), and an unapologetic Cubs on-air cheerleader. He has been great for the game—thumbs up.

A School for the Late '90s

This must be the school that awarded MBAs to all those Dot.Com guys who ran e-commerce companies in the late '90s.

Yahoo! News - Online School That Gave Cat an MBA Is Sued

Monday, December 06, 2004

The Queen of Soul Needs Trimspa

Yahoo! News - Entertainment Photos - Reuters

Today, We Celebrate A Miracle

So it was 12 years ago today we first met our daughter. After flying for the better part of an entire day from Sky Harbor Airport, we landed at the foreign airport and were driven to the day care center where my daughter was being watched. After a few minutes, we walked into the room where she was in a crib and she was handed to my wife. Then she was handed to me, and I turned and walked to the window and looked up to heaven and told my mother this was the girl that would bear her name (as is our religious custom).

I never mention my daughter’s name, her place of origin or show her picture on my blog. There are way too many crazy people out there and I know far too much about Web searching. The same goes for my wife (I never mention her name or show her picture), although I do link to her blog. Someone who really makes an effort could find her.

So, today we celebrate. In 1992, my daughter could fit into a sink to be bathed; today, she’s a beautiful little woman on her way to a sweet and fulfilling life. The magic of the three of us coming together is nothing short of a miracle that cannot be put into words.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Will Fluff Come out of My Hair?

Volunteering is a funny thing. We just finished out third annual Mitzvah Day and feel quite pleased with our work. My wife and daughter did lots of tedious, mobile work in the set up and execution of the peanut butter and Fluff ® sandwich process. No one can outwork my daughter when she is focused; she is strong, extraordinarily capable and can do just about anything (she’s amazing with her hands). My wife is a steady, quiet and thorough worker who is an amazing expediter and goes about her tasks in an efficient and facile manner. I think it’s a trait she got from her father and (especially) her beloved grandfather.

On the other hand, I sat and handled registration, sign in and general help desk. I took care of the flow of about 120 volunteers and had them sign in, gave them quick instructions and answered a number of strange questions.

It was my observation, as I looked over the sea of folks making sandwiches, there were far too many chiefs trying to tell others how to do this and that. These fools just came off as pompous jerks to those with heads down and hands busy. A lot of people just take it upon themselves—in any group situation—to try and show off some marginal organizational skill. It’s as if running a carpool qualifies some mom or dad for head of logistics with the CIA,

Next year, we’re doing another “mitzvah,” leaving sandwich making to others.

Mitzvah Day

The word “mitzvah” means commandment and today is Mitzvah Day in our community. This will be the third consecutive year we make peanut butter and Fluff ® sandwiches for the homeless at an area synagogue and transport them to a food bank. It’s quite a gratifying experience. There are all sorts of mitzvahs that will be conducted through our area. My hope is that people catch the “fever” and do mitzvahs throughout the year—not just on one day.

Friday, December 03, 2004

Countdown to Spring Training

Tickets are currently on sale for the Oakland A's; next Monday the Milwaukee Brewers. Everyone else (Cubs, Giants, etc...) after the 1st of January.

Less than three months to opening day of Spring Training.

Barry, Jason & The Juice

Only a fool didn’t think Barry Bonds had sampled “the juice” at some point in recent years. Now, it’s come to light that he did, but claims he didn’t know it contained a banned substance. Hmmm… Barry skipped biochem class at ASU.

The issue my wife posed to me—knowing I am a devout Barry Fan—is does it change the way I think of him? The answer is a definite, “I don’t know.” Bonds is NOT Giambi. The differences include:

%He is beloved in his hometown, San Francisco, and part of the team’s past and current legacy via Willie and Bobby Bonds. Giambi does not look right in pinstripes—never has, never will. He’s an Oakland A for life; had the A’s ownership not been so stupid as to not grant Jason the guaranteed contract he deserved, he’d be on the verge of getting fired by the A's, not the Yankees.

%Bonds is headed for the Hall of Fame, steroids or no steroids. Giambi is headed for Japan or the Mexican League. I do think Bonds will have to sit out next season, forcing him to think about retirement.

%Bonds is African American and Giambi is a surfer dude. Think the race card won’t come up here? Ha, I say.

As for me, I am clouded by being a witness to Barry’s heroics in 2000 when the team made the playoffs and provided me a diversion while my wife battled cancer. I am touched by the scene in the Red Carpet Room in SF when Bonds politely signed autographs and stood for pictures while his family patiently waited.

I guess I will be forgiving of Bonds. He will have to pay, however. I am thinking he'll get a one-year suspension at which point he'll simply walk away and tell The Game-- "Screw you." Ultimately, though, he risked his own health and put himself in jeopardy of shortening his life and time with his family. Bonds still suffers from the loss of his father; he must know how his kids would feel in the same situation.

Next Stop...Japan

Giambi surely will be wearing a Japanese baseball uniform in 2005. - MLB - Stark: Into the void?

Torture Me

If someone wanted me to give us state secrets, just sit me down in front of a Jacques Brel performance and I'll give it up... quickly!

Yahoo! News - U.S. Can Use Evidence Gained by Torture

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Two Generations Removed

I saw this coming when my daughter came home from religious school and proclaimed she was bored with and tired of learning about the Holocaust. I had many friends whose parents survived the Holocaust, as well as fellow synagogue members at Beth Emeth in Philadelphia (my first place of worship). It was a topic hammered into our very being in religious school. I cried and nearly puked the first time I traveled to Germany in 1995.

Yahoo! News - Nearly half of Britons never heard of Auschwitz

Murphy Brown Meets Anne Kelsey

Yahoo! News - Candice Bergen to Join 'Boston Legal'

REAL TV Anchors

Since I don’t watch network TV news, it sure doesn’t matter to me whether Tom Brokaw, Brian Williams or the ghost of Jessica Savitch is in the big chair on NBC. Network news is so played it’s the first media out the big door and into the cyber dumpster. Williams’ laughable comments about bloggers only distances him from the audience he is trying to reach. He just don’t get it, maan!

You want an anchor? Reach back into my world and visit the dulcet tones of the late, great John Facenda. For those of you under 40, you know Facenda as the original voice of THE NFL. It’s his vouce you hear in those early NFL Films… “The frozen tundra…” The wonderful Chris Berman pays homage to Facenda in his weekly highlights with his imitation of the master.

Facneda was the “anchor” of WCAU-TV news in Philadelphia (a CBS O&O in those days) when I was a kid. It was Facneda, Herb Clarke (weather) and the once great Tom Brookshire on sports. I will blog on the Brookshire story some other day. Anyway, Facenda and Clarke are Philadelphia broadcasting legends and both possessors of some of the rattiest rugs every seen on TV in the ‘60s. So here’s the kicker: in 1976, I was a graduate school intern at WCAU radio in the sports department (of course) and one day John Facenda walks over and introduces himself. I am sure I stood speechless. It was nearly as cool as the day I stood at a urinal at WCAU and next to me was Stevie Wonder (WCAU-FM was the city’s top R&B station at the time). Stevie was wearing a sweater with that famous “Fingertips” picture on the front.

A Planned Trip to Nowhere

I have mentioned before about my previous trips to nowhere. The trip to Texas where I never set foot in the Lone Star State, etc… But now, thanks the few remaining people hanging on at The Friendly Skies, keeping it afloat (so to speak) I am planning a trip to nowhere.

I signed up for an odd promotion that affords Mileage Plus customer double qualifying miles up to Dec. 15th. In short, it means if you hit 25,000 miles you are a “Premier,” 50k, a Premier Exec and at 100k, you are a 1K. While it might not seem like something of major importance in the grand scheme of things, if I hit Premier Exec, it will make a huge difference if we go through with our family plans to fly to Israel next summer for our daughter’s Bat Mitzvah.

So, I am 5300 miles short of that goal right now. However, by my calculations, a trip up and back to Chicago (5600 miles with bonus) will put me over the goal. My current plan is to fly to Chicago next Friday and fly home three hours later. I will not leave the airport and just head to the Red Carpet Room to recharge my PC so I can watch a movie on the way home. The price tag for such an endeavor is $198. Is it crazy? Perhaps. Is it a good investment? Perhaps. Previously, United gave complimentary global upgrade coupons to Premier Execs; would that be worth $198 if we fly 17 hours from Arizona to Israel? You betcha!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Yahoo! News - England in Court on Iraqi Abuse Charges

Boo Hoo for Martha

We get a complementary copy of In Touch each week from the publisher. Here's a preview of the coming week's issue. A long way from the elegant holidays with Martha and Andy (prnounced--Ahn-dee) of years gone bye at Turkey Hill.

Martha’s just hoping for some bread and water this holiday season

In Touch Weekly’s inside source says that Martha “wouldn’t give the food they serve in prison to her dogs.” As December hits us with warm holiday feelings, Martha has admitted what she truly misses “…crunchy Italian bread.” In Touch Weekly has the details on Martha’s wish list.

Parting with a Treasure

We have arranged to donate my legendary ’92 red Honda Accord to the American Diabetes Association. Because the laws change after Dec. 31, 2004 regarding donations and write offs for cars given to charities, it would be prudent to donate the car in the next 30 days. I have had AAA out three times to jump or replace the battery because I just don’t drive it enough (or at all).

I am emotionally torn about this. I posted the story of the car in my previous blog. It is a physical tie to my father who bought me the car in 1992 when we didn’t have two dimes to rub together. Given my father and I both are/were diabetics, it would be a lasting tribute to him.

I am having a difficult time pulling the trigger.

Life Is Back in Focus

Every since I was young, I made a yearly visit to the ophthalmologist. Back in the day, (that day being one of great health insurance) such things were routine events, especially for those (like me) with really bad vision. I have been wearing glasses since age six, which might tell you something about my early social life. I would sit in the crowded doctor’s office (with other budding social misfits), eyes dilated, listening to my six-transistor radio. For some reason, my yearly eye exam was right around my birthday so I’d be sitting there, eyes glassy, listening to my new Zenith, Viscount or GE radio (birthday gift complete with mono earphone).

As a diabetic, there is great concern over my eyes. As the joke goes, they are the first to go. Each year, I have a nasty medical eye exam with pressure testing, bright lights and a thorough dilation. The doctor explained that diabetics take longer for their dilation to take effect and longer for it to wear off. So, until bedtime last night, my life was out of focus.

Knock wood, my eyes are fine. I have baby cataracts, but that’s common for the population at large (over 50) and for diabetics specifically. These cataracts are 10 years away from being troublesome, and easily corrected with a laser procedure. They were first discovered by my ophthalmologist in Marin County several years ago. Aside from my doctor when I was a youngster (head of eye surgery for the famous Wills Eye Hospital), she was the best. Before I was diagnosed with diabetes, she found my eyes curious and questioned my general health. I’ll keep an eye out for her next time I’m in Calfironia.